Making the Grades
With Thor (Chris Hemsworth) coming alive on the movie screen, Marvel Comics unleashes yet another icon from its immense stable of characters. This son of the god Odin (Anthony Hopkins) has an arrogant attitude and lust for war that leads him to fracture a delicate truce between the people of his realm Asgard and the cold-hearted Frost Giants from the frozen world of Jotunheim. Thanks to his mighty hammer Mjolnir, Thor is unstoppable. However his impetuous attack against their enemy leaves his father with no choice but to banish his brash son to live with mortal humans on Earth. It is the only action that will satisfy the Frost Giants and restore a perilous peace.
Not surprisingly, when a man falls from the sky dressed in godly attire, people take notice. This is especially true of Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), a young scientist engaged in post-doctrinal work in the field of astrophysics. While studying the strange behavior of the night sky in New Mexico (the direct result of Thor’s sci-fi travel method), she and her colleagues literally run into the muscular man on a desert road. They provide the wandering pedestrian with a ride to the hospital in their small town, but Thor isn’t the type to accept confinement for long. Soon he is out and searching for his powerful hammer that, coincidentally, landed just 50 miles away after his father randomly tossed it out of Asgard.
While Thor’s expulsion was a necessary diplomatic step, new political problems are developing. The stress of these has left the aging Odin near death and forced to grant power to Thor’s younger brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Tired of standing in his giant sibling’s shadow, Loki quickly builds an alliance with the Frost Giants. But his decision is the cause of grave concern for Thor’s former team of warriors—Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg and Siff (Josh Dallas, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson, and Jaimie Alexander). Knowing things need to be set straight, the pack travels to Earth to try and convince their compatriot to return home. Needless to say, a big battle is brewing.
Parents considering Thor for young audiences will find violence to be the greatest issue. Although the large scale battles that fill the screen sport minimal blood, one character is impaled and another visibly stabbed. Countless more are tossed like rag dolls against walls and other uncomfortable objects, or subjected to immense explosions from which they emerge alive but definitely singed. Another concern is the humorous portrayal of a Taser used to render its victim unconscious, which would be deadly in reality.
Other content includes the hero and a friend downing a huge alcoholic drink with comedic consequences, and a male character is seen without a shirt. Language is limited to terms of deity (with one reference directed to Thor, implying he is legitimately a god) and a few other mild profanities.
Fortunately this prideful protagonist learns some positive lessons, providing the audience with good messages about humility, as well as respect for power and authority. Combined with stunning visuals and a lighthearted script, Thor may be a good candidate for your teens’ entertainment dollars. Just be sure you stay until the very end of the closing credits, or you’ll miss a peek at what’s coming next!
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Thor.
Why was Thor so determined to settle the score with the Frost Giants at the beginning of the movie? Was he right to challenge his fathers perceived apathy? Have there been any examples in history when similar decisions have been made?
For those who understand the intricate relationships that exist between the various Marvel characters, the unveiling of Thor brings us one step closer to seeing the famous battling team known as the Avengers on screens in 2012. This comic book alliance includes other notable super heroes, including Iron Man, who is referenced in this movie.